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                  ABN 37 195 378 179        The Electric Cinema                more to the late 1960s/70s phenomenon
                    Reg A0020747R              I enjoyed Bill Chew’s story on the  of the cinema club (members only
                                            Electric (CinemaRecord 48). I was  admission) - a sometimes questionable
           The aims of CATHS are: to record the  only discussing this theatre the other  initiative by the anti-censorship lobby
           history of cinemas and theatres, and to  day with a friend, Eric Clarke who lives  to find a way to screen films that would
           promote interest in theatre heritage and                            have been rejected by the censorship
           architecture, and other related areas.  at Paraparaumu Beach.
                       Patrons:                Eric has a long history as a    code of the time. The first screening of
           Frank Van Straten OAM Peter Smith OAM  projectionist and theatre manager, both  the Electric Cinema Club (in the late
           Elaine Marriner   Philip Brady   here and in the UK. He was manager at  60s) was Luis Bunuel’s The Criminal
                     Committee:             the Electric in the 1950s, and in his  Life of Archibaido de la Cruz.
           President: Gerry Kennedy 5174 1870  retirement runs a theatre in his   In an article in Sight and Sound in
           Vice President: Peter Wolfenden 9744 2570  basement. Like so many theatre people  1981 correspondent John Pym
           Secretary: Mike Trickett 5278 1986  he started it as an  ‘after work’ hobby,  commented on the run-down condition
           Treasurer: Barrie Wraith 9435 9785  with a 35mm projector. Most     of the Electric at the start of the 1970s
                                            projectionists seem to do this.    when the Cinema Club stepped in and
           Archivist: Gerry Kennedy 5174 1870  When Eric started here there were  aided the survival of the cinema: ‘The
           Central Victoria Co-ordinator:   no cinemas on the Kapiti Coast, and he  heating was non-existent, if you sat on
           Fred Page 5444 0428  (Bendigo)   ran films for charity. His main charity  the wrong seat the whole row would
           Gippsland Co-ordinator:          is Wellington Free Ambulance, a    collapse; when it rained half the cinema
           Gerry Kennedy 5174 1870  (Traralgon)                                had to be roped off, the projection was
           Events Co-ordinator:             unique service in NZ, in that it relies on  erratic and the old clientele apparently
           Brian Miller 9557 7446           donations.
           Film Buffs Group:                   Eric’s theatre of 40 seats has raised  impervious to anything. The club
           Mike Trickett 5278 1986          many thousands of dollars for the  prospered and in 1970 assumed overall
           Publications Sales:              Ambulance, and he was awarded an   control.’
           Garry Saunders 9812 7227                                               At this time the Electric apparently
           Membership Secretary: Peter O’Reilly  OBE for community service.
           See postal address               Tony Froude, Paraparaumu Beach (N.Z.)   charged threepence (three cents), and a
           CinemaRecord Editor:                                                bun and an orange were served free.
           Ian Smith                        Saving the Electric                Roger Seccombe, Mitcham
               It is always interesting to see
           CATHS website:                   occasional articles on overseas cinemas  Twilight Memories
                  as a contrast with the normal Australian  I enjoyed the story on the Twilight
           Postal address:                                                     Drive-In (CR 48). I was lucky enough
           PO Box 476, Bentleigh 3204.      content. However, I feel a few
                                            comments are possible on the subject of  to be its first Assistant Projectionist
                         H                                                     back in 1957 at the age of 17 to work
                                            the Electric’s chequered history.
           Membership                                                          alongside Projectionist Percy
           Annual membership subscription is $35,  The main article gives the  Woodyard, who came from the Astor
                                            impression that the cinema’s fight for
           (overseas subscribers $45) and                                      Theatre St Kilda and later went to
           members receive four copies of   survival is a relatively recent    Benalla and Wangarratta Drive ins.
                                            phenomenon. In fact, the claim that the
           CinemaRecord, notification of events,                                  In the few weeks leading up to the
           and copies of the agenda and minutes  Electric was ‘run down’ in 1993 is  opening of the Twilight I worked with
           of all meetings. There is no joining fee.   contradicted by the British Film
           Meetings                         Institute in their annual report for 1991  Jack Tuckett (who has been a good
           Meetings are held on the last Sunday of  where they say, ‘An even more  friend since), making sure that the field
           February, April, June, August, October &  welcome appearance was made by one  and speakers were in pristine condition
           November.                        of Britain’s oldest cinemas after the  for the opening night. Jack was
           Archive                          failure of attempts to turn it into an  employed as the groundsman, and was
           The Archive is located in the Prahran  antiques market. London’s Electric  the longest serving employee of the
           Mechanics’ Institute, 140 High Street  Cinema ... opened its doors for the first  drive in.
           Prahran, 9510 3393. The Archive will  time in two and a half years in January  The place soon became the
           be open between 9.30am and 12.30pm  1990, beautifully restored with its  entertainment hub of Shepparton, the
           on the Saturday before each meeting  original proscenium arch brought back  place to be with carloads of your
           (see above), and at other times by  into view. An imaginative mix of live  friends and family. On a busy summers
           appointment with the archivist.  shows (on slackest nights of the week)  night there was nothing more enjoyable
           Publications                                                        than to leave the bio box, look over the
                                            and repertory double-bills deserves to
           Back issues of CinemaRecord, other  succeed.’                       field of cars and listen to the response
           publications, CDs and videos are                                    of the audience to the movie.
                                               At the risk of labouring detail, I
           available at meetings. Items are also
           available by mail. Please contact Garry  believe the saving of the Electric goes
                                            back much further. It owes its survival
           Saunders on 9812 7227 for details.

          4   2005 CINEMARECORD
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